The Spanking Controversy for Christians


Many Christian parents are torn. They don’t want to inflict pain on their child, but are being told the Bible tells them to spank.

The quickest way of reading this material is through Samuel Martin. We link to his book, Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy, and we give parts of it below. 



Five important items here:

1. How come Israel has banned all hitting of children while the US does not when the Biblical texts are the same? (Read more)

2. Samuel Martin's biblical Studies "The Bible Does Not Tell You to Spank or Smack Your Child." (Below)

3. Rev. Dr. Anne Cameron, Christian Minister and mother, speaks about her change of parenting: Faithful Discipline

4. Specific Faith-Based Support for Prohibition of All Hitting of Children:  Faith-Based Support for Prohibition 

5. Open letter to Pope Francis about CP  by Mady Gomez: letter to pope



Tamar Morag

Senior Lecturer, The Haim Striks School of Law, The College of Management Academic 
An examination of social, cultural, and legal factors affecting the legal arrangements relating to parental authority to mete out corporal punishment can provide insights into elements influencing child law in general. A juxtaposition of the Israeli and American legal systems points to a highly interesting finding. In the 1940s, the legal situation in Israel and the USA regarding parental authority to mete out corporal punishment was almost identical. By the end of the 20th century, however, the legal situation in the USA had remained almost unchanged, whereas in Israel, it had reversed itself almost entirely. My comparative analysis will attempt to trace the potential effect of one element in both systems: religious traditions.The main argument in this article is that ever since the beginning of the American polity, Protestant approaches to child education have significantly influenced the determination of the broad licence granted in American law to the use of corporal punishment. Moreover, these approaches continue to play a crucial role in the preservation of defences for corporal punishment in American law until the present. By contrast, specific hermeneutical trends in Jewish religion and the lack of full separation between religion and state in Israeli law have been among the factors that facilitated the move toward the full prohibition of corporal punishment in Israel.
© The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Read More: 


2. Samuel Martin 

"The Bible Does Not Tell You to Spank or Smack Your Child"

Careful scholarship of the bible's original language and comments from both Jewish and Christian authorities allow Samuel Martin to deny that the Bible teaches us to spank or hit our children. Rather it is one of compassion for children and special regard for their needs, with clear insight into children learning  more from patient teaching, than from lashes. The Bible does exhort parent to pay attention to their children as they grow and counsel them.

Great news!

Samuel Martinhas graciously allowed his book to be hosted: Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy.

This is a FREE ebook which you can download at any time and share with your friends. All applicable copyright laws apply.  


Careful research into the original language, plus borrowing from well know biblical scholars, Samuel Martin shows that:

  • The Bible does not teach spanking your child will save him from hell.
  • The Bible does not teach smacking a child should bring tears.
  • The Hebrew words and culture in the famous Proverbs quotes about the rod could not refer to children under ten years of age.
  • Eminent Biblical scholars, both Jewish and Christian, reject hitting children.
  • The main Christian advocates for smacking children today are not usually trained Christian theologians teaching in universities but most often are conservative fundamentalist Christian pastors, Christian politicians, Christian psychologists, many church members, and Christian school leaders.


"The greatest benefit ... was to see how a movement towards an anti-spanking position can be developed through Jewish sources and readings of Scripture (as well as Christian ones).  [Mr. Martin] comes to similar conclusions that I do regarding the spanking controversy but his path through the biblical material is quite different–a fascinating read." Read whole review here:

Willain J. Webb,Top evangelical theologian

I’ve! had a chance to read through your manuscript and find it very interesting! I think you’ve made an important contribution especially to contextualizing biblical ideas about child-rearing.

Dr. Dawn Devries, professor of systematic theology Union theological seminary

This is not an easy read, but it is one any Christian who desires to be true to the Bible in the first instance should take time to read. ... In my view this study is a definitive reading of the biblical texts for Christians and non-Christians alike."

Rev. Alistair McBride, Scots Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, New Zealand 


Mr. Martin also  welcomes comments.

To open

You can also still order this book, please search it at or call in the USA – 1 800 204 2063.

Mr. Martin's  website:

Mr. Martin's eamil: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mr. Martin's blog:

Mr. Martin's facebook:

Our Mission

The MISSION of the Action Team to End Hitting Children is to gather many people to do small jobs for the purpose of diminishing and finally ending the hitting of children. By "htiting" we mean to include beating, spanking, slapping, shaking, popping, and any other form of physical or emotional punishment that demeans the child and creates emotional, mental, and physical harm. Our strategy is to use many people to do small amounts of work that create momentum to make a difference. 

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